Tel Aviv has successfully branded itself as one of the world's leading tourist destinations in recent years, despite Israel's often problematic image. And according to the Lonely Planet international travel guide, Tel Aviv is the seventh best beachside city in the world.
The "White City" was ranked after top-ranked Barcelona, described as Spain's most cosmopolitan city, followed by Cape Town, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tangier, Morocco; Sydney, Australia, and Valencia, Spain. Tel Aviv’s beaches rank ahead of those in Dubai, Miami, and England’s Brighton and Hove.
This isn't the first time that Lonely Planet has placed its spotlight on Israel. In October, the esteemed travel publication ranked Israel among the most recommended areas to visit in 2013, naming Israel's Negev Desert as the second-best place to see.
In response, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said, "It's appropriate and right that every potential tourist in the world knows what we all know already – that Tel Aviv-Jaffa is an amazing city, full of surprises, that is not only fun to live in, but also to visit."
In its best beach city rankings, Lonely Planet describes Tel Aviv as "the total flip-side of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea, rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill."
"When the weather is warm, Tel Avivians flock en masse to the city beaches,” the description continues. “You’ll find young and old soaking up the Mediterranean rays, kite-surfing and knocking back and forth little rubber balls during friendly matches of matkot.
"The beaches are safe and clean, and there are changing rooms and freshwater showers scattered along its length. The main beaches are packed with people most days, especially on Saturdays, when the crowds descend to pick a prime spot. Get here early."